Who won last week?

All sides are claiming a significant degree of victory after this week’s events at Stormont; though I note that the degree of triumph is much greater from the DUP side. That may indeed be because the DUP has defeated SF and has yet again out negotiated it. The triumph might lead the DUP to suggest that “The Russian is finished” (I will explain at the end).

Certainly the executive is back to work, there is no date set for the devolution of policing and justice and Sinn Fein seem notably quiet in their comments. Now if the DUP have succeeded I will be delighted as should every unionist. There may, however, be a few clouds on the horizon.

Firstly if the latest deal is so poor for Sinn Fein and so good for the DUP why did SF agree to it? The DUP never tire of telling us how direct rule would result in a greater say for republicans. If that were the case why would SF have agreed to the executive meeting and not have collapsed the agreement? If the DUP victory is so complete and dircet rule would be so much better for SF why are SF supporting what has been agreed? Turkeys rarely vote for Christmas.

The next issue one must consider is how overwhelmingly annoyed SF seemed to be by the DUP not agreeing to the previous May 2008 deadline for the devolution of P&J. If they had felt short changed last time why on earth would they accept no date on this occasion? The DUP played the lack of date perfectly last time. It is practically inconceivable that SF would have made the same mistake twice: inconceivable that those who so comprehensively out manoeuvred Trimble would make remarkably similar mistakes. If, however, by some chance they have made that mistake one would expect them to simply stall the whole thing again and there is absolutely nothing to stop them. Whilst SF may (and only may) not have received a definitive date, the DUP certainly have not received a mechanism to apply sanctions to SF if they bring the executive to a halt again. The absolute best for the DUP is that they have held the line, there has been no advance on preventing SF from making the current system of devolution unworkable as and when they choose.

On the contrary the recent choreography makes it look as though the DUP have agreed to a deal but are being allowed to avoid the embarrassment of publicly giving SF a specific date for P&J devolution. Robinson’s sudden revelation that the he has been told that the “IRA is out of business for good and is not going to return” is of itself a most interesting revelation: even more interesting when one considers that the DUP have always claimed to be in favour of the devolution of P&J when there was community confidence (something they claim to be uniquely equipped to establish). To have Robinson seeming to accept “private reassurances” from the republican leadership is actually almost unbelievable; it makes Trimble and Jonathan Powell seem positively hawkish in their view of Adams and McGuinness. It is incredible of course unless one suspects that Robinson is preparing the ground for announcing that there is indeed such confidence: then such a conversion to accept SF’s honesty seems no longer naïve but deeply cynical.

The claim by Jim Allister on Let’s Talk that the civil service has sent round internal emails looking for people to join a P&J ministry is very interesting. The fact that Nigel Dodds made no attempt to deny the claim is even more interesting.

It is of course still somewhat unclear to what extent McGuinness as deputy first minister will be involved in judicial appointments but it looks very likely that he will be involved in appointing at least some of the people to the panel which will in turn appoint the judges. Again I hope I am gravely mistaken on this.

One of the other interesting factors is the “sunset clause” to cross community support for the P&J minister. If after 2012 this clause must be reviewed there is a grave danger that as with so many other things here there would need to be cross community support to keep the need for cross community support (I enjoyed typing that). In other words SF could veto the requirement for the justice minister to be elected by cross community support. The post would then default to d’Hondt. In such a scenario come the next d’Hondt round if the DUP were the biggest party they would have to take the finance ministry (Robinson has shown how necessary unionists holding finance is). SF would then get the next pick (unless the world is utterly changed) and I am very suspicious that we would see an SF justice minister and I would not be remotely surprised if that turned out to be a by then 59 year old with ministerial experience and an intimate knowledge of the justice system. What then for Nigel Dodds’s claim that an SF justice minister would be a political life time away?

Coming back to the start of my piece, who won and who lost is currently unclear to those outside of the very inner circle of power. Those inside may well, however, be well aware of the winners and losers. I sincerely hope that I am like the British public and even some in the admiralty who due to its confused and incomplete nature failed to understand that Jutland was a major strategic British victory. I hope that those in the DUP who are proclaiming a further victory are correct; I just worry that they might be saying “The Russian is finished” to which the reply was “I must admit, it looks like it.” The first comment was from Franz Halder, the reply from his chief of staff: the date 20th July 1942; Stalingrad was less than six months away.

  • joeCanuck

    “The Russian is finished”
    An Egyptian too. God has taken a nice gentleman from north Belfast to his bosom.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7744571.stm

  • “The DUP never tire of telling us how direct rule would result in a greater say for republicans. If that were the case why would SF have agreed to the executive meeting and not have collapsed the agreement? If the DUP victory is so complete and dircet rule would be so much better for SF why are SF supporting what has been agreed? Turkeys rarely vote for Christmas.”

    What if the reality for SF is amore for prosaic and grubby?

    I agree that the collapse of the GFA/StAG would lead to direct rule from westminister with a very significant input from ROI ministers.

    Your question is a good one-in that case why dont SF collapse the entire Northern edifice?
    Surely quasi joint authority would ,in a real sense, compromise the Union.
    Could it be that the SF folks on the hill rather like their executive priveldges?
    How much public cash does SF “earn” from being in the executive?

    SF needs the assembly and Robinson is smart enough to see that imo.

    Game set and match to Robbo

  • blinding

    It may just have finished 0-0 or even a score draw or match abandoned due to people seeing sense.

    You really have to stop looking for victories or losses all the time

    Just live for a while without victory or defeat.

  • Turgon

    blinding,
    Maybe a fair criticism but I believe that politics here is a zero sum game. The DUP seem to have a very similar analysis. Hence, someone is always winning and losing: at first glance it looks as if the DUP won last week, my thesis is that they did not.

  • pith

    SF-DUP won. Rocket science.

  • dub

    Turgon,

    You have written a lot here but it seems to be a lot of hot air. What is this unionist victory that you are praying for? Would it be that p and j would never be devolved or only devolved if assured to be in unionist hands forever? Obviously it IS going to be devolved and obviously it will initially be on a cross community basis and then might after 2012 revert to d’hondt. How is this a unionist victory? Please tell us what you mean by a unionist victory in this situation? Or just tell us what the hell you are talking about?? It seems clear to the most of us that a compromise has been struck in which the DUP have committed to devolution of p and j and to a process leading to it, with no pre conditions. What are you seeing that i am not? Winners and losers do not enter into it from what i see. This is an agreement for partnership govt. That is a loss for doctrinaire republicans and protestant parliament for a protestant people unionists perhaps. A loss, in other words, for people who live entirely outside the framework of reality. Are you REALLY so unaware as to one of their number?

  • Turgon

    dub,
    I do not think this has been a unionist victory. I agree with your analysis that it is a compromise.

    The DUP have told us that they have defeated SF and have got the executive going again without agreeing to P&J;devolution. I agree with you that it has been a compromise.

    The DUP said that SF should gain nothing from suspending the process. My thesis is that SF have gained something and as such in the zero sum game the DUP have given something in exchange for resumption of the executive. Hence, the DUP have lost at least a bit.

    I also agree with you that after 2012 it looks very likely that the P&J;minister will be filled by d’Hondt. Hence, it is very likely that we will have an SF minister in that role.

    My view of a DUP victory would have been them gaining what they wanted. My thesis is that although they have claimed such a victory the ensuing months will show that you are indeed correct and that the DUP have given ground: a defeat in their terms.

    Of course what I want is a complete renegotiation of the agreement and the ending of the current system. In my view that would be a victory for everyone. Clearly you and I would disagree on that.

  • frustrated democrat

    Why don’t we call it what it is, a grubby compromise to save the face of both parties which achieves nothing.

    The public were turning against them and they had to do something, expect to revist it in the future when the next stage of disagreement arises.

    Nobody won or lost this time around.

  • dub

    The DUP have told us that they have defeated SF and have got the executive going again without agreeing to P&J;devolution…

    I have not heard the DUP claim this. From what i have heard them saying they are clearly embarked on a process to ensure devolution of p and j without undue delay. They have been quite open about this.

    My view of a DUP victory would have been them gaining what they wanted…

    But the DUP themselve wanted devolution of p and j. They just did not want to be seen to be to keen on it when sf were keen on it, and they wanted it to be seen as within their gift. SF are being quiet now so they are happy to get on with it. And they have delayed things by a few months. Not clear to me what they wanted to gain, though.

    My thesis is that although they have claimed such a victory the ensuing months will show that you are indeed correct and that the DUP have given ground: a defeat in their terms.

    Of course they have given ground, but so have SF. That’s what happens in negotiations in the real world. Its hardly a defeat!

    Of course what I want is a complete renegotiation of the agreement and the ending of the current system. In my view that would be a victory for everyone

    But any renegotation would lead to something very similar to what we have now. And renegogation would require compromise!

    Are you an impossibilist?

  • ulsters my homeland

    [i]All sides are claiming a significant degree of victory after this week’s events at Stormont; though I note that the degree of triumph is much greater from the DUP side.”[/i]Turgon @ 05:38

    don’t be fooled Turgon. Unionists got a triple lock on Policing and Justice, Republicans got a triple lock on the 11 plus. Correct me if I’m wrong but Unionism got a good ass kicking. If Unionism is going to negotiate a triple lock with Republicanism, maybe they should start demanding something which is Unionist in nature. There’s an idea!

  • edward

    Turgon I agree whole hearedly with you analysis, the DUPers had to give ground and for them this is a defeat, SF understanding the nature of nIreland politics and the DUP, have agreed to be gracious winners(something unionism could learn).

    But what came to my mind by your title was Napolean in Russia, where he appeared to be winning right up till he suffered catastrophic ignominious defeat. Has the Russian winter come for the DUP?

  • Turgon

    edward,
    Funny I was debating whether to use the Napoleonic wars or the Second World war as my analogy: I know more about the latter so decided to stick with it.

  • slug

    Isn’t the DUPs tendency to issue press releases talking about how “unionists now in total control” and “republicans are pinned in” etc., rather counterproductive? I suspect they will have to learn to tone it down a bit; for a while there it was way too triumphalist.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    winners and losers ARE important here at a party political level – but not in terms of the bigger picture. So lets concentrate on the party political level as that is far more fun.

    Marty’s body language on Hearts and Minds plus his comment that he is satisfied with the assurance he has received from Robbo and that the hawkish elements in the DUP have been reined in suggest clearly that the deal and timeframe have been agreed.

    Is it double bluff by SF to appear relaxed about not having a date if they are not confident the process is under way (e.g the talk of the Attorney General) or that it will commence shortly? That would appear very unlikely.

    The appointment of judges issue will be crucial for Allister as the political stick to beat the DUP with but the detail of that is not clear. The best guess is that SF will directly or indirectly appoint a panel to appoint judges. Robbo and Dodsy (the dog that didnt bite) will just have to hope that the unionist electorate has run out of interest in Lundify them in the same way as Trimble, Faulkner and O’Neill were Lundified. From a Nationalist perspective it all looks like good fun and if you throw in the ridiculous merger/union between Wee Reggie and Posh Boy DC it just gets better and better.

  • lorraine

    If after 2012 this clause must be reviewed there is a grave danger that as with so many other things here there would need to be cross community support to keep the need for cross community support (I enjoyed typing that).

    fair play to you Turgon, i enjoyed reading that.

  • 6countyprod

    The DUP never tire of telling us how direct rule would result in a greater say for republicans.

    On Talk Back Dodsy seemed to be at pains to emphasise the role that Dublin would have in renewed direct rule.

    the civil service has sent round internal emails looking for people to join a P&J;ministry is very interesting

    Misplaced confidence in the efficiency of the Civil Service?

    major strategic British victory

    Long term strategy is Robbo’s forte. With the combined wisdom and far-thinking of present and erstwhile colleagues, Robbo and his DUP have rescued a pathetic situation created by the UUP. Politics, unlike religion, is about compromise and flexibility. Grubby or honourable, that’s the name of the game, and the DUP are dab hands at coming out of negotiations with SF looking like winners.

    Bottom line, SF has no political future outside of NI, so they have to make the best of it here. That’s why they are sticking with devolution.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    6countyprod,

    I think it shortsighted of the DUP to highlight Dublin’s influence in direct rule as it back up the view ( which I have long held ) that they had no choice but to cut a deal with SF. This undermines their boast not to be pushover Unionists( like the UU ) and to be securing a good deal for the Unionist electorate. I’m convinced the reason they have decided to say this (although it is true) is solely to counteract Allister’s preferred option to refuse to share power with SF.

  • Comrade Stalin

    In the short term there is no immediate threat of joint authority (or at least, anything which outwardly looks like joint authority) due to the mechanics at Westminster. However, collapsing Stormont would weaken the union by damaging public opinion elsewhere in the UK. That is the issue that unionists need to be looking at. Any time they pull down a deal, they end up having one which is considerably worse than what they would have had to face before. Powersharing without Sinn Fein could have been done in 1974. People in the UK do not understand the TUV and alienating people in the UK is not the way to cement the union.

    Turgon, your point is that there must have been a dirty concession done by the DUP, otherwise they would not have signed – in other words, setting aside the fact that you don’t accept that Sinn Fein might be crap negotiators, you refuse to accept the idea that any deal that Sinn Fein agree to can ever be acceptable to unionists such as yourself. That’s a very interesting insight into your zero-sum psyche.

    Let’s look at the mechanics. A collapse in the executive would actually be harmful to SF’s interests. They don’t have any allies in Dublin, and due to their principles, such that they are, they have no way of influencing things in London. Where are they without the executive they have spent ten years trying to promote to their supporters ? The boycott back home was the only card left in their deck, and frankly it didn’t really scare anyone, certainly not the DUP. A collapse of the executive followed by some kind of joint authority would, for these reasons, not be beneficial to SF at all; their objective is to have political power, and they would be utterly frozen out of it and thus dead in the water if the executive failed. That is why they signed the DUP’s dotted line and agreed to an unwritten timetable for policing and justice powers somewhat delayed compared with what was envisaged in the StAA.

    The DUP now has the upper hand in events lock, stock and barrel, and I completely fail to grasp how this can be reasonably interpreted as bad from a unionist perspective. Maintaining the power sharing arrangement and staying out of the headlines, building stability, is the way to cement the union, and it dovetails neatly with SF’s desire to hold political power in Ireland – a desire so strong that they were willing to disband the IRA to get it. Right now, the deal appears to work for everybody.

  • filious fog

    “[i]Surely quasi joint authority would ,in a real sense, compromise the Union.
    Could it be that the SF folks on the hill rather like their executive priveldges?
    How much public cash does SF “earn” from being in the executive?

    SF needs the assembly and Robinson is smart enough to see that imo.

    Game set and match to Robbo”[/i]

    Posted by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

    hope you didn’t do that fidiledo music, last employee who done that got shot

  • 6countyprod

    Sammy what’s his name…
    Maybe I have misinterpreted Allister, but I got the impression on Talk Back that he will not be happy with anything short of a return to majority rule. Is that what he and the TUV are shooting for?

  • ulsters my homeland

    here’s a repeat, just incase you didn’t hear the first time.

    “Unionism got a good ass kicking. If Unionism is going to negotiate a triple lock with Republicanism, maybe they should start demanding a triple lock on something which is Unionist in nature. There’s an idea!”

    so piss off Peter, triple lock in policing does nothing for the union….

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS

    “A collapse of the executive followed by some kind of joint authority would, for these reasons, not be beneficial to SF at all”

    I’m with the DUP analysis on this – i.e. you have got that completely wrong.

    In the run up to the deal you repeatedly stated that the DUP would not be under pressure from London to do a deal because of Westminster numbers. The DUP by conceding their fear of Direct Rule have contradicted that. They were also told by the SOS that their inaction on the transfer was undermining the peace.

    To deny that the DUP were under pressure and not now say “I called that wrong” is really quite amusing but it allows you to maintain your convienent ideological view that it is all just down to SFs bad negotiation. lol

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    6countyprod

    I think he is shooting for direct rule as he knows he cant have majority rule – and that is why the DUP are highlighting the disadvantages of it – one of which, contrary to what the Comrade in Denial says includes SF/Republican influence.

  • Greenflag

    Who won last week ?

    Who cares ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    In the run up to the deal you repeatedly stated that the DUP would not be under pressure from London to do a deal because of Westminster numbers. The DUP by conceding their fear of Direct Rule have contradicted that.

    I don’t care what the DUP said. You are welcome to rely on taking politicians at face value, and interpreting their body language. I like to deal with the actual mechanics of the real world.

    They were also told by the SOS that their inaction on the transfer was undermining the peace.

    So ?

    To deny that the DUP were under pressure

    The DUP were and are not under pressure. That is why Sinn Fein caved, and why they kept their line and refused to agree to Sinn Fein’s demand of a timetable. I think the absence of a timetable sucks, and the fact that Sinn Fein caved is a good thing as it allows things to proceed, but it can’t be denied that this is what happened.

    and not now say “I called that wrong” is really quite amusing but it allows you to maintain your convienent ideological view that it is all just down to SFs bad negotiation. lol

    The reason why we no longer have a crisis is because SF dropped their insistence on the timetable which they claim was required in the StAA. That seems, to me, like an admission that their boycott was misguided. I don’t know what part you think I called wrong. Does anyone else want to help Sammy out ?

  • Turgon

    Comrade,
    I suppose I essentially am on the same side as It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it (worrying for both of us) but let me ask the question is a rather different way: under what circumstances would you see SF as having won in this, if the DUP accepted the devolution of P&J;within the year? if there was an SF P&J;minister within the next 5 years?

  • Silver Line

    I find it sad that Turgon has to make things up on the ST Andrews Agreement and P&J;yet he or should I say Jim never has anything concrete to back up his arguement in reality the DUP have kept to their P&J;Manifesto that I understand you, Jim helped to write.

  • ulsterfan

    Wars are the sum total of battles.
    On the question of P&J;the Dup have been the victors since last May when devolution was not granted and the ranting of Sf since then highlights their poor negotiating.
    They still do not have a date and Martins faith in Robinson may be misplaced.
    By agreement they are excluded from holding this Office something they said they would never contemplate. Another case of compromise or sell out.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ulsterfan,

    “ranting of Sf since then highlights their poor negotiating”

    The ranting was done by Robbo who threatened “serious consequences” and then when he realised he could do absolutely nothing…did absolutely nothing.

    On his own and Dodsy’s (the non biting guard dog) admission the DUP had to sign up with SF for fear of Dublin rule and was told by the SOS he was underminig the peace by his stalling on Police. Trimble must me having a really good laugh at all the DUP bluster and hypocrisy.

  • joeCanuck

    They still do not have a date

    Anyone who believes that SF do not have a date is very naive indeed.

    What did Robinson say this week? Oh yes, “I have a private assurance…”

  • picador

    I just thought I’d interject in this rather Byzantine affair to warn Slugger bloggers (I know what you media types are like) and readers alike that there is some bad coke (yes, even worse than usual) doing the rounds. This information comes courtesy of Ulster’s most exciting Sunday (and there can be few things more exciting in this world than a Sunday in Ulster), the Sunday World. You have been warned!

  • picador

    Sorry, I feel the to provide clarification (remember that word from the early part of 1994?) before I get myself a bad name. The above warning is primarily directed at those among you – and I know there are many – who use blast furnaces to smelt iron ore. Just in case you were wondering. Like.

  • LURIG

    As someone who used to love all this political intrigue and debate I can only say it’s now like talking about the Second World War or Vietnam War. It is something many of us lived through and know about but it’s gone, it’s history. The generation coming through don’t have this baggage and are more interested in actually living their lives as they should. It’s starting to dawn on most of our politicians and people that the conflict IS actually over. Most of those deeply involved in the machinations of the Troubles are now dying off and many of us born at the start of the conflict are now hitting middle age and that is scary. It is fast becoming history and that is why the DUP and Sinn Fein should sort it out. The stark truth that in 10 – 20 years many of those people at the heart of it all will be lying in a graveyard. That’s how fast life evolves.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    LURIG,

    I know it’s only Monday, but that’s got to be post of the week…

  • cynic

    Lurig

    Never thought I’d say this as we so often disagree, but I am completely with you on that.

    I think the light is dawning within both SF and the DUPs that the war IS over.

    Both traditions have their Colonel Blimps sitting in armchairs or at the bar, but both communities are also now ready to accept that the fighting is gone.

    If the Parties seize this opportunity (especially the DUPs) then we can move forward. The biggest block to this may then be that the current crop of party leaders (and many of the politicians) are so much of the past that they need to go too to make way for a new, more vigorous and less-tainted leadership. War Cabinets aren’t that useful in peace. You need a different skill set.

  • cynic

    Piucador

    I always suspected that you don’t need the coke. Just sniffing through a rolled up Sunday World would probably have the same effect ….. lassitude, delusions and paranoia

  • Comrade Stalin

    I suppose I essentially am on the same side as It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it (worrying for both of us) but let me ask the question is a rather different way: under what circumstances would you see SF as having won in this, if the DUP accepted the devolution of P&J;within the year? if there was an SF P&J;minister within the next 5 years?

    Since the StAA committed the DUP to a policing and justice minister, and since the reality of things means that it will be impossible to prevent a Sinn Fein minister taking the post eventually, I don’t see a Sinn Fein victory or a DUP loss – just an outworking of what was agreed at St Andrew’s which should be clear to everyone by now.

    The “victory” in this case is a small one, but it’s still relevant. Sinn Fein attempted to use threats to bring down the assembly and the executive, and ended up having to back off. It’s a victory for common sense rather than anything else.

    In wider terms, I don’t really see a Sinn Fein justice minister as being a victory in the context of the overall struggle for a 32-county socialist state. That’s another of their demands that they’ve been made to back off from. They like to tell their supporters that it’s all on the path to a united Ireland, but the reality is somewhat different. Still, as long as their supporters are stupid enough to believe that they have the upper hand, then I don’t mind – it all works and it keeps them out of trouble.

  • 6countyprod

    In spite of the painfully slow progress, it is obvious that both the DUP and SF (and the UUP+SDLP)want to move forward. The war is over and everyone knows it, although it is going to take quite a while for all those involved in terrorism to start pushing up daisies.

    On the other hand, the TUV appear to want to take a step backwards. My guess is they appeal to a small precentage (10-15%)of the unionist electorate. The European elections will let us know just what that pecentage is.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Turgon,
    The reason the DUP got what they wanted and SF again had to accept no date for the devolution of P&J;was that SF had to deal whereas the DUP were under no pressure.

    Its simple and the same in any walk of life – if you’re wanting to flog your house and you have to move quickly then you will sell for a much lower price than if you’ve got months to wait around for the best deal. The Shinners messed up so badly at St Andrews on the date issue that frankly they nearly needed any deal to get them out of the mess.

    They’re merely selling progress to shinnerdom out there whereas the DUP can sell progress on their terms.

    We should all stop believing that SF are mystically fantastic negotiators. They aren’t and that has been exposed time and time again. Particularly without the ‘cutting edge’ that they once had they’re relegated to fairly poor players of the political game.

    Your point about SF using their veto to block cross-community appointment post 2012 is clutching at straws a little in your attempts to find something wrong. It goes both ways (as in all occasions) and the DUP can veto the appointment by d’Hondt.

    What is most interesting in your analysis is that you at least haven’t fallen into any of the many, and frankly crazy points of “objection” which Jim Allister seems to have fallen into. Having a self-proclaimed legal expert get so many basic facts just plain wrong is a little embarassing. It may not have been the absoltely 110% perfect deal for the DUP but the fact that the objections from the TUV et al are so minor and quite so obscure would suggest they’ve got it as sewn up as they were ever going to.

  • Ian

    Turgon:

    “I am very suspicious that we would see an SF justice minister and I would not be remotely surprised if that turned out to be a by then 59 year old with ministerial experience and an intimate knowledge of the justice system.”

    Minor correction: Kelly would be 62 years old by 2015, when the new appointments mechanism would first be utilised. Although the mechanism is to change in 2012, the Justice Minister for the next term would already be in place, since the next Assembly elections are due in 2011, with the ones after that not due until 2015.

    Incidentally, isn’t the agreement that a NEW mechanism to replace the OLD one is to be implemented in May 2012, a de facto agreement by the DUP of an absolute deadline for devolution of policing and justice, i.e. by May 2012. Which is clearly not as early as SF would have liked, but it’s no longer the case that the DUP could theoretically faff about for another ten years before agreeing to devolve.

    So that’s a victory for the SF tactic, no? I always said that SF could live with a lengthy delay as longer as a definite deadline was set.

    Incidentally, I think in reality P&J;will be devolved long before May 2012; that’s now the outer limit of when it might happen, but before last week’s agreement the outer ‘deadline’ as far as the DUP were concerned was the year infinity.

  • Ian

    Carson’s Cat:

    “Your point about SF using their veto to block cross-community appointment post 2012 is clutching at straws a little in your attempts to find something wrong. It goes both ways (as in all occasions) and the DUP can veto the appointment by d’Hondt.”

    It’ll be interesting to see the wording of the ‘sunset clause’ in the forthcoming amending legislation. There will have to be a fall-back position written in if no agreement is reached on the post-2012 appointment mechanism, and the document released last week states that it won’t be the status quo (cross-community vote). I can’t envisage the NIO taking back the powers in the absence of agreement; perhaps the directly-appointed Justice Commissioner might resurface as the default scenario when the legislation is published??

  • Ian

    To clarify my last post, it won’t truly be a ‘sunset’ clause unless it specifies that the mechanism changes post-2012 FROM cross-community vote TO some other mechanism. In the absense of agreement of that new mechanism, the amending legislation will have to specify a fall-back position to avoid a power vacuum potentially emerging.

  • Ian

    In the absense of agreement on that new mechanism BETWEEN the local parties…

  • runciter

    Incidentally, I think in reality P&J;will be devolved long before May 2012; that’s now the outer limit of when it might happen, but before last week’s agreement the outer ‘deadline’ as far as the DUP were concerned was the year infinity.

    Wrong.

    Prior to this debacle the DUP were prepared to endorse devolution of P&J;- on the basis that they would never have to accept a nationalist minister. The new agreement requires a ‘review’ of the veto at that stage. However, the review itself will also be subject to a unionist veto.

    On the face of it it looks like SF got shafted again.

  • Ian

    Prior to last week the DUP refused to set any kind of target date or notional timetable as to [i]when[/i] they might contemplate devolution of justice to ANY local Minister. That effectively changed last week.

    Granted they still haven’t set a timetable as to when they might give up the veto on a nationalist minister. But until they do, SF’s veto on a unionist minister also applies.

  • runciter

    Prior to last week the DUP refused to set any kind of target date or notional timetable as to when they might contemplate devolution of justice to ANY local Minister.

    I thought a date (May 08) had been set.

    That effectively changed last week.

    Actually it appears to not have changed – unless you have evidence to the contrary.

    Granted they still haven’t set a timetable as to when they might give up the veto on a nationalist minister.

    Why did SF hand them a veto in the first place?

    How is this a good deal for nationalists?

    But until they do, SF’s veto on a unionist minister also applies.

    So the Alliance aren’t a unionist party?

    This keeps getting better and better.

  • Ian

    “I thought a date (May 08) had been set.”

    The DUP never agreed to that target date, as they have always said and Pete B on Slugger hasn’t stopped banging on about.

    Now they have agreed that the appointment mechanism to the Justice post should be changed post-May 2012. Why would they agree that if they don’t clearly envisage that devolution will already have occurred by that [b]target[/b] date?

  • Ian

    That is, devolution under the [i]transitional[/i] arragement whereby apoointment is via cross-community vote.

  • Ian

    Aplologies for the acrotious speeling there…

  • runciter

    The DUP never agreed to that target date

    SF said they did. Who was telling the truth?

    Also, they still haven’t agreed to a target date for devolution. The same loopholes (confidence, etc) still apply.

    Now they have agreed that the appointment mechanism to the Justice post should be changed post-May 2012.

    No. They have agreed it should be reviewed, not changed. See the difference?

    Why would they agree that if they don’t clearly envisage that devolution will already have occurred by that target date?

    Because they enjoy making fools of SF?

  • Comrade Stalin

    So the Alliance aren’t a unionist party?

    That’s right, they’re not. They’re not nationalist though, which is what you may be confusing it with.

  • Modernist

    I found an interesting article in the economist which has a bit to do with this post.

    http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12641952

  • runciter

    That’s right, they’re not.

    I’m not surprised that an Alliance supporter would make such a claim.

    I’m very surprised, however, that SF would agree with it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m very surprised, however, that SF would agree with it.

    SF could claim that the sky is purple. It wouldn’t make it right.

  • Modernist

    Just saw this on oconnalstreet I thought itd be amusing to add to the discussion

    The Devolution of Justice and Policing Agreement Fudge

    Cooking instructions

    Mix some DUP nuts with some crumbly and flakey Shinners and stir.

    Cook up together in Stormont Castle for 150 days. Then leave to simmer until boiling point.

    Add some dough from London.

    Remember to remove all dates.

    Then serve up as a sticky agreement and spoon feed to a cynical and bemused media and public and hope they swallow it.

    For best results take the Devolution of Justice and Policing Agreement Fudge with a large pinch of salt.

    Warning – may leave bitter taste in the mouth and could stick in the throat

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Modernist,

    I like that, particularly the bit about “DUP nuts”.

    Could this perhaps explain why Deputy Dog Dodsy appears to have lost his bite?